Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What I Learned at the Prayer Shower

I'm not sure what to call it, but it was one of the most overwhelming and moving experiences of my life. Some dear friends, girls I would call my "Steel Magnolias", gathered last weekend for the purpose of praying for God's will for my family (or as Clay reminds me to say, "our family"). I would call this gathering a Prayer Shower because it had all the elements of a shower - food, friends, and family... but they showered me with encouragement and prayer instead of gifts.

This is what I learned...

1.The throne of God is peacefully powerful
Loulou set the tone for my heart by describing the power in God's throne. Ezekial 1:15 - 26 reminds us that God's throne is never empty. Even when He descends to rescue His people, His throne moves with Him, so we never pray to an empty throne. God is always there.

2. God's Word says a lot about having children
Psalm 113:9 reads, "He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother." Then, between Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth, so many people in the Bible struggled with infertility. And yet, God used their story to bring glory to Himself.

3. Hearing my name in Psalm 139 is awesome
Knowing that God understands my thoughts, even when I don't always understand them, brings such enormous comfort. It makes me want to insert my name into other verses and feel the impact.

4. God's will is never what you expect
As the girls shared their stories of struggle and triumph, I was encouraged by the predictably unpredictable nature of God.

5. There's no better place on earth than the center of a prayer circle
I memorized Matthew 18:20 as a kid, but I never grasped it until Saturday. Truly, where two or three are gathered in Christ's name, He is there in our midst.

6. Prayer is a precious gift that I don't give enough
After feeling the impact of such loving, personalized prayers, I want to give others the same gift. I feel like my eyes are open now, searching for opportunities to pray for people around me.

To so many people who have prayed for Clay and me, I can never thank you enough. Your love encourages us more than you know.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walking in Little Shoes

Last week, our school challenged twenty-one teachers to become "Students for the Day", and I participated in the experiment. I dressed like a student, and for an entire day, I was a fourth grader in Mrs. Cain's class. I completed assignments, played Homeworkopoly, and even climbed the monkeybars at recess.

To be honest, I was pretty nervous about being a kid again. I worried about looking stupid, feeling hungry, and even going to the bathroom. Although I've taught at Strong Rock for two and a half years, I'd never seen it from this perspective. At lunch, one of the kids said to me, "You should let us be teachers for a day!" We really should. If only they could see how tough it is to make learning fun, they might appreciate us a little more. Then another kids piped in, "We should be principal for a day." And I agreed. We could all learn from walking in someone else's shoes.

That night, when Clay got home from work, I tried to imagine what his day had been like. I thought about his crazy schedule, and what it must be like to have people waiting to meet with him all day. I actually WANTED to cook dinner for him because I took a few minutes to ask myself, "What would it be like to be him?"

Then yesterday, I saw an amazing video of a coach who asked the same question. I should warn you, though. Every person who has seen this video has cried their eyes out.

(If you cannot see the video below, click on this link to watch the clip:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

10 Things I have in my Purse, Just in Case

<---- Contents of my purse - Hard to believe, isn't it?

Last week, after eating dinner with three dear friends, I felt that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the one... when you reach into your purse, feel around, dig a little, panic slighlty, shake your head, and realize you can't find your keys. I then proceeded to stick my head into my purse like an ostrich, burying his head in the sand.

After five minutes of plowing through the mess, I emerged with keys, covered in cracker crumbs. My friends got such a kick out of my messy purse that they wrote the following ode. I think they were making fun of my purse AND my blog, but this kind of masterpiece should be published.

10 Things Emily has in her Purse, Just in Case...
1. Polka Dot Headband - Just in case you need to take off your makeup while driving home from work so Clay will think you look tired and offer you some of his food from his hidden stash in the basement.

2. Bra Clip - Just in case you are a little red-neck strappy.

3. Desk Flip Calendar - Just in case you need to set up a desk and work for the day at Starbucks.

4. Crayola Blue Fine-Line Marker (stolen from the elementary art room) - just in case you need to create a one-of-a-kind Venn Diagram on the fly for a Toastmasters presentation that you are expecting to win first prize for.

5. IPhone - Just in case your Mother calls during dinner and you have to tell her that your friends are more important than the woman who gave birth to you.

6. Pens, Pens, and More Pens - Half of which don't work, but you may have to use them to create an emergency airway for a friend who choked on her Italian food while laughing at your messy purse.

7. Half-eated Ritz Cracker - Just in case you need a snack with extra lint for fiber during those irregular moments.

8. Silver Name Badge - Just in case you forgot that you are "blessed to be a blessing."
9. Gold Name Badge - Just in case you lose the magnetic strip on the silver name badge and so you won't clash on the days you wear your gold bling (or gold tooth).
10. Keys - Something you can't live without, something you need to find to get home to your adoring husband and dog, something you need to find in order to stop feeling guilty about blogging three months ago about your super-organized drawers while your purse was super-super messy, something you need to find so your friends will stop kidding you about all the junk in your purse.

Feel free to share what you have in your purse, just in case.